In The Elegance of the Hedgehog, class and age play a big part. Hierarchies play a big part. Elitism and the stigma of the lower classes are dissected and become almost characters in the novel. Madame Michel, who suffers from a very poor background, feels obliged for many reasons to present to the wealthy tenants of Number 7, Rue de Grenelle, that which they already assume: her ignorance and her virtual insignificance. This is a tragedy that underlies other tragedies in the novel, and it works two ways at least. At the very least.… |To be Continued “The Inelegance of Hierarchies”
The Elegance of the Hedgehog is a wonderful novel. Moving, thoughtful, highly observant. I didn’t want to put it down. Unusual for a literary work, it is also a page-turner. I really wanted to keep going, to follow the story, to know how things turn out for the two main characters and at least a couple of the secondary ones. I wanted to spend more time in their company.
Barbery, a professor of philosophy in France, born in Casablanca, creates a very accessible world, with a light touch, even though some of the subject matter is heavy.… |To be Continued “The Elegance of Observation”
Before I die, I will sleep in a temple in Greece, a temple dedicated to Aphrodite. I will wake transformed, and wander the hills and valleys once seen by Achilles, Diomedes, Perseus and Heracles. I will find the place where Odysseus came ashore after his exile. I will find the treasures of Mycenae and walk where Agamemnon walked. Athena will watch over me. I will not let a moment pass without finding the ancients in the air.
Before Nietzsche, Greece was sunlight and the shining power of rational thought. After Nietzsche, Greece was Dionysian as well as Apollonian.… |To be Continued “Dreaming of Greece”
The Party’s Over Athens four o’clock in the morning… Early white bright sunlight creeping over the Parthenon: the city asleep, the ancients awake, as always, mentally sinewed, nodding knowingly at their modern counterparts whose muscle only has softened-- hard cunning, irresistible charm adamantine-- taxiing home from Plaka
As though looking for the Nativity beneath the neon lights of Christmas hawkers, we searched Greece and found sicca flourishing beneath the bare-boned ruins of our own beginnings. If Odysseus’ shores are now thick with bikinied beautiful people, the sun that bakes their flesh is the same as the one poor Elpenor saw before his fated, foolish fall. … |To be Continued “Ah, Greece!”
I’m currently about 120 pages into to this marvelous novel, translated from the French by Alison Anderson. A most enjoyable reflection on the human condition, class, Art, sickness, death and how we all seek our own raison d’être. More on this wonderful book later this week . . .
Wanted to welcome Ann Applegarth to Spinozablue. We have one of her fine poems on display here, and hope to present more of her visions from the southwest in the future.
I roam this world on sidewalks littered
with images of violence.
Maintenance crews work overtime,
even on Sundays and Christmas —
stout men, crawling on padded knees,
scrub concrete with caustic detergent,
broad steel-bristled brushes, and
elbow grease. The stains remain.
My satin slippers darken and fray.
Each dawn finds holes worn through
at least a dozen pairs — and I am
merely one frail princess, attired for
skipping down streets of polished gold.
— by Ann Applegarth
Ann Applegarth was awarded an Academy of American Poets prize at the University of New Mexico in 1980, and her work has appeared in publications such as Sin Fronteras, St.… |To be Continued “Poetry from New Mexico”